ROUND FOUR: 5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible

r4 5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible

Click here for authlete instructions.

Voter Instructions:

  • The countdown at the bottom of each pairing indicates how much time is left to vote.
    • When voting closes, timer will disappear.
  • Read both poems as many times as you like.
  • Mark the poem you like best by clicking the circle next to its name.
  • Press the “Vote” button to record your vote.
  • Votes are counted in real time and cannot be changed once entered.
  • You can only vote once from a given IP address.
    • Classrooms should submit one vote as a class.
    • Students can then vote again individually from home.

Things to Consider in Making a Choice:

  • How well the poem incorporates the authlete’s assigned word.
  • Technical elements: meter, rhyme, form, shape, and other poetic standards.
  • Creativity: wordplay, imagery, unusual approach, etc.
  • Subtle elements that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Your overall response: emotional reaction such as admiration, tears, laughter, terror, or some indefinable feeling.

Here are the poems:

Lawn Racer
by Jean Daigneau

Today my father said to me I need to mow the yard.
The riding mower’s in the shed, so it will not be hard.

But I would rather think that I’m a famous racing star
And rather than a mower, I am in a souped up car.

I cram my hands into my gloves and tightly grip the wheel.
I know that driving in a race is all about the feel.

I listen for the starting gun, my hand is on the gears.
This race might be a tight one, but I set aside my fears.

It won’t take long until I leave each racer in the dust.
And for the others on the track, this race will be a bust.

I conjure up the finish line, the checkered flag unfurls.
My mind can see me being kissed by lots of pretty girls.

But I’ll admit my racer dreams have somehow gone awry,
Since rather than a victory lap; I’m trying not to cry.

‘Cause when the engine idled with the pedal to the floor
I shifted gears to start the race and crashed into the door.


Behind the Dancing Rain: A Pantoum
by B.J. Lee

Lying in bed on nights when it storms,
I dream of a world past my window pane:
imperceptible movements, mysterious forms,
masked by the dance of the thunder-clapped rain.

I dream of a world past my window pane—
the gnarled fingers of troll-like trees.
Masked by the dance of the thunder-clapped rain,
owls hoo-hoo in the gusty breeze.

The gnarled fingers of troll-like trees
tap the walls of my hapless house.
Owls hoo-hoo in the gusty breeze.
In a sodden field sleeps a quiet mouse.

Tapping the walls of my hapless house,
imperceptible movements, mysterious forms.
In a sodden field sleeps a quiet mouse
in its own hidden bed on nights when it storms.


Public Vote (5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible)
Final Results:
5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible

Authlete Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible
Classroom Vote (ID Required)
Final Results:
5-idled vs. 15-imperceptible

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  • Quinette Cook

    Both are clever, but I am a sucker for a good pantoum. Good luck ladies.

    • BJ Lee

      thank you Quinette! I love a good pantoum myself!

  • Mother Streusel

    Oh, man. SO good. Jean, I almost wrote about a race car driver. Glad for both of us that I went in another direction. That being said, I felt drawn in immediately and enjoyed the (short) ride. ;) B.J. your poem is so clever. You are such a skilled poet! Both of you are!

  • Rebekah Hoeft

    Nicely done, ladies! Can totally see a kid enacting this scenario, Jean! B.J. , I love the a good storm! Such a safe feeling to be on the right side of the rain!

  • Damon Dean

    BJ, I dearly love the pantoum form! This is precious and endearing, and paints a quiet picture of calm within a storm. I think many a young reader would identify with the writer and the mouse.

    Jean, so right on for so many ‘young’ mowers! I was one myself long ago, and although I wasn’t sitting in the driver ‘seat,’ I was on a racetrack nonetheless. And wrecked my old push-style Yazoo upon many a shrub, stump, or rock! Loved this.
    These were great. Vote will be difficult.

  • Jean Daigneau

    BJ, Very very nice.

    • BJ Lee

      I like yours too, Jean. Such different poems!

  • Renee LaTulippe

    I do so love a pantoum, and this one is stellar, BJ. Lovely images and mood…brava! Jean, I’m sure kids will relate to this story!

    • BJ Lee

      Renee – thanks for the compliment!

    • Gloson

      When I read BJ’s pantoum, immediately I thought, Renee has done one last year! :D

  • Elizabeth McBride

    What a wonderful job both of you! The Lawn Racer completely captures the experience and temptation of the long-awaited opportunity to DRIVE! Execution is flawless, Jean! B.j. the word choice and form in your poem were a perfect match for the mood of the poem. Such good work, Ladies!

    • BJ Lee

      Thank you. Elizabeth!

  • deborahhwilliams

    Kids will love yours, Jean, and B.j., yours evokes such a mysterious mood, a phantom pantoum! Love it!

    • BJ Lee

      I love the “Phantom Pantoum” Lucky!

  • Mother Streusel

    Jean, I posted my fledgling race car poem on my poetry blog (mother

  • Victoria Warneck

    Jean, your poem is my sons’ favorite of this round. The last couplet, centered around your given word, is a gem.

    BJ, pantoums are so intimidating to me. You have a very beautiful mix of feelings in this introspective poem. And what a contrast to your Round 3 microscopic police chase!

    • BJ Lee

      To be sure, Victoria!

  • Bonnie Bailey

    Jean – ha!! I have had a mishap or two with a riding lawnmower. One thing I rarely share with anyone (except on the internet apparently!) is that I LOVE mowing the lawn. Always have! I liked your poem a lot. And BJ – how beautifully put! I often lay in bed listening to storms but rarely put the sounds to such sonorous words! Nice job.

    • BJ Lee

      thank you, Bonnie! I love that you love mowing the lawn!

  • Laura Purdie Salas

    These are great! Funny vs. gorgeous. It’s like an old Dating Game conundrum:>) I love a good storm, BJ–great details!

    • BJ Lee

      haha, Laura!- an old Dating Game conundrum – well put!

  • Carmela Martino

    Two terrific, yet so very different poems. What a tough choice!

  • Deb Sieber

    This voting stuff ain’t easy –
    It’s getting hard, just like a chore.
    And GASP! In just a day or two
    It will be time to vote once MORE!
    You all have so much talent,
    For the readers it’s plain to see.
    And the anticipation kills us
    As we’re watching what’s to be.
    You go, girls!

    • BJ Lee

      thanks for stopping by, Deb, and for versifying as well! :)

  • BJ Lee

    Hi Jean! I knew you would surely win the classroom vote and I was on tenterhooks about the authlete vote. Thanks for a very good match!

  • Mother Streusel

    Great match up!!! Congratulations B.J.! Great poem Jean!

  • Jean Daigneau

    Bj, Let me say that there is no question why you have 60 poems published. I knew I was in trouble when people starting talking about pantourns :O)! Touche on a job well done. I was pleased to win the classroom vote, which tells me that I either think like a kid or I’m too immature to know the difference!! All I can say is that the voting is going to get even crazier with the Final Four. Congrats to all!

    • BJ Lee

      Thank so much, Jean! I often deplore the face that I have a hard time writing real “young,” but in this case, it worked for me. Good match! I loved your kid-friendly poem!

  • rjschechter

    Congratulations, BJ. Your poem somehow reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson. Which is a good thing. My money’s on you to go all the way.

    • BJ Lee

      Robert Louis Stevenson! I’ll have to reread some of his stuff. And thank you, Bob, for your support!